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Choosing a path after high school

Planning for life after high school involves big decisions. You may have students who don’t want to head straight to a four-year college, but also don’t have firm plans for what comes next. Sometimes these students would prefer not to attend college, and others may want to go eventually, but don’t know what they want to study. Whatever the case may be, there are many options available.

Following is a list you can share with students, who may just want a simple overview of their viable options.

Community college

Students who are unsure about what they want to study can take their prerequisite courses at an affordable price while attending community college. It gives them more time to explore their career options while continuing their education.


Joining the armed forces is an option for students who want to serve their country while getting immediate training and experience. Often, the military will provide payment assistance for education for those who have served.

Technical school

Students who want to train for a specific career can benefit from a technical or trade school where they can immediately learn the skills necessary to enter the workforce in their chosen field.


For some students, entering the workforce right after high school is their preferred path. Students who choose this option should seriously consider seeking work that provides opportunities for growth down the road. They may also want to consider taking community college classes while working, just to keep their future options open. Some employers will even help pay for their education.

Volunteer work

Volunteering while working or attending school is an additional option for students who are uncertain about the career path they want to follow. Students who want to explore potential careers fields may find volunteering a way to gain valuable experience and insight, as well as meet potential mentors.

Caroline Hanson
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Caroline Hanson

Communications Consultant at Wells Fargo
Copywriter at Wells Fargo.

She’s experienced in planning and paying for college both as a student and parent. With one child through college and two more a few years away from it, she is right there with you on the college-planning journey. A creative pro with years logged in journalism, public relations, and marketing, she’s been writing for the College Planning Blog since its launch in 2006.
Caroline Hanson
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